- . . . expresses worry over killing of Muslims
From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna
Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI) yesterday denied allegations that there was plan to Islamise Nigeria as he expressed worries over the number of Muslims killed in the country.
According to him, Muslims are a peace-loving people, who only want to practice their religion as taught by the Holy Quran and Hadith.
Speaking at the Golden Jubilee lecture of the JNI in Kaduna, the Sultan said nobody can Islamize Nigeria, adding that so also, nobody can Christianize Nigeria, saying that is not possible.
He said Muslims need not fight for the religion because Allah has already promised to defend and protect his religion from external forces.
“As Muslims, we will bring non-Muslims closer to us. We have been living in peace together in the past; then why are we fighting now?” he asked.
He said Christianity and Islam should not be seen as an accident of history, but as God’s design, which cannot be changed by anybody.
The Sultan further said insecurity is the major problem facing Nigeria, most especially in North-East, saying it is a problem in the minds of Muslims, which they will not stop talking about it until the problem is tackled.
He added that, apart from insecurity, another major problem is cattle-rustling, which he said is also rampant in the North.
He explained that the desire of JNI to criticize or demand for Muslims’ rights does not mean fighting the government or any group or religion, but should be seen as a wake-up call for government, or those in leadership positions, to do what is right.
“We don’t need anybody’s permission before we express our grievances on issues bothering us. Some people criticize our visit to the President on the issue of marginalisation of Muslims in the on-going National conference. I don’t know when Muslims must take permission from others before expressing their views,” he said.
According to him, as Muslims, the JNI will continue to support the government in its effort to address some of the issues affecting the Muslim Ummah.
He said Muslims are worried over the insecurity in Northern Nigeria which has claimed many Muslim lives, adding that “As Muslims, we are worried about the Muslims being killed. We are worried about the Fulani, whom we don’t even know; we are worried about the killings of innocent lives in this country. We are worried about attacks on military barracks as well as other places,” he said.
The Sultan however, appealed to Christians and other faiths to join hands with Muslims to tackle the present security challenges and other problems facing the country and to also see Islam as a peaceful religion.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who represented President Jonathan at the occasion, in his goodwill message, said the present administration has supported JNI in its programmes to tackle insecurity and illiteracy through the establishment of Almajiri Models Schools in many states in the north.
He also assured that effort to address the constant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in some states are being addressed by the government.
He further assured the gathering that his administration would look at the issue of marginalisation at the National Conference so as to address it.
The state governor, Mukhtar Yero, on his part said, 50 years of JNI called for celebration and urged the apex Islamic body in the north to establish peaceful co-existence with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and find possible ways of promoting peace in the country.